The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 11, 2014

The cool way of driving around

By Scott Levine
Clinton Herald

CLINTON — Driving around with the windows down has taken on a whole new perspective.

With spring finally arriving, I was able to roll down my windows, bask in the sunlight and turn up the tunes in my car this week. As I age, the music has changed a bit, and even three years ago, I wrote about the morphing tune of how “cool” I appeared while cruising around.

However, this past week, my “coolness” has elevated (or deflated depending on your outlook) to another level.

After I picked up my son and daughter from daycare this week, it was just too nice not to have the window rolled down. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, on a normal occasion, this would be a welcomed sight considering the treacherous winter we endured.

However, my daughter is obsessed with the movie “Frozen.” We have “Frozen” dolls, cups, plates, rings, shoes, dresses, whatever else is made from “Frozen” apparel and recently celebrated a fourth birthday guessed it...a “Frozen” theme.

So it’s not surprising that we have the “Frozen” soundtrack and must listen to it on the drive home from daycare. Usually, though, the weather is too cold for people to be walking around or there’s no way for the entire town to hear what’s pumping out of my stereo since the heat is usually on full blast.

This week was different. This week, the city of Clinton, not only heard Idina Menzel belt out “Let It Go” at a level so loud that my ear drums are still hurting, but they also heard my daughter audition for “American Idol” at the same time, because she was singing even louder than the CD player.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a spotlight on my children to make sure everyone passing our motorized recording studio knew that I was rolling with my young children.

Instead, all they saw was a grown man blaring “Do you want to build a snowman?”

“This is getting pretty rowdy in here, maybe I’ll turn this down,” I told my daughter as another walker passed by, probably thinking why is that guy jamming out to a children’s movie soundtrack.

“Dad, I can’t hear it,” my daughter responded. “Turn it up please!”

My 9-month-old son was no help. He thinks his sister is hilarious. I beg to differ.

Another round lost. I’m getting used to it by now.

That’s my life with a now-4-year-old girl. She marked her birthday Thursday and was so excited that she ran around in circles, screaming “It’s my birthday.”

She’s all girl, all the time. She and her friends dressed up like princesses and danced around during her birthday party, while my son and I looked on in amazement. We don’t get the obsession with princesses.

My son just wants to put his fingers into outlets, play ball and wrestle around.

He must get his passions from me.

But my daughter has opened my eyes to a whole new world in her four years on Earth. It’s amazing what a preschool-aged child can teach an old man like myself (age is relevant; according to my daughter, 28 is ancient.)

We have conversations about everything under the sun and she’s always trying to keep me in line. The trouble for her is that her mother has been trying to do the same thing to no avail for more than 10 years. But I think my daughter may stand a better chance.

It’s been a great four years and I’ve learned more than I could ever believe during that time about the wonderful and rewarding aspect of being a parent.

Now, if I can only change her music taste to alternative ‘90s rock, we’d really be rolling in ultimate “coolness.”

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at